Request for the United Nations to Create World Universal Accessibility Day

Built Environment, Europe, News, October 1 2019

SPAIN: The Alliance for World Universal Accessibility Day, formed by FC Barcelona, the Barça Foundation, the ‘la Caixa’ Bank Foundation, Barcelona City Council and Mapp4all Universal Accessibility have put together a request that will be sent to the United Nations to ask the international organisation to declare 30 September as World Universal Accessibility Day. During the announcement of the petition, an event which took place at the 1899 Auditorium at Camp Nou, the request letter was presented to Joan Clos, the person who will be responsible for delivering the message to the United Nations. Joan Clos is a former mayor of Barcelona and was also executive director of UN Habitat from 2010 to 2017, the United Nations programme for the promotion of sustainable cities.

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The Alliance for World Universal Accessibility Day was represented at the event by Jordi Cardoner i Casaus, first vicepresident of the FC Barcelona and the Barça Foundation; Marga Marí-Klose, councillor for Children, Youth and Old People at the Barcelona City Council ; Xavier Bertolín, director of the commercial and educational area of the ‘la Caixa’ Bank Foundation; Emili Rousaud, director responsible for the Office of Specialist Attention at Barça and Josep Esteba, founder of Mapp4all Universal Accessibility and director of universal accessibility at Grup SIFU.

The event also saw the participation of Albert Llovera, the rally driver who is paralysed from the waist down after a serious skiing accident in competition when he was 17. Llovera shared his experience and his efforts to move forward, both in life and in sport, overcoming hurdles and finally being able to take part in various motor sport events such as rallies and the famous Dakar rally where he will also take part in 2020.

The objective of this request is that each 30 September becomes a day to promote and raise awareness of universal accessibility across the world with the organisation of different events on the subject.

Support from Carles Aleñá, Clément Lenglet and Nélson Semedo

During the event a video put together by FC Barcelona was shown to support the request and in which appear the first team players Carles Aleñá, Clément Lenglet and Nélson Semedo. As well as appearance from the three Barça footballers, in the video a wheelchair basketball player, two participants from the Cursa Barça 2K and a visually impaired fan from Camp Nou also appear.

The letter that will be presented to the United Nations will describe the desire for World Universal Accessibility Day to be a date to raise awareness to create a more inclusive world, free of limitations where all people can have access to all kinds of services, facilities etc, regardless of their needs.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities names accessibility as one of its general principals and it states its objective for everyone to have the same rights and opportunities. As such,  the Convention highlights the importance of accessibility in a physical, social, economic and cultural environment so that people with disabilities can fully enjoy fundamental human rights and liberties.

Jordi Cardoner, first vicepresident of FC Barcelona and the Barça Foundation:

“As achieving universal accessibility is a priority objective for the Club, for a while now we have been working in this area via our Office for Specialist Attention. Barça, is, in many senses, a reference point in many areas of its activities and today we want to see a more accessible, which means a better and more just world for everyone.”

Marga Marí-Klose, councillor for Children, Youth and Old People at the Barcelona City Council:

“Barcelona has always been at the forefront of physical accessibility but it wants to go further to reach universal accessibility and guarantee the right for everyone to act autonomously. For that reason, Barcelona presents its candidacy to be Europe’s most accessible city.”

Joan Clos, former mayor of Barcelona and was also executive director of UN Habitat from 2010 to 2017:

“It’s for me a great honour and a source of great personal satisfaction to be able to take this message to the United Nations, furthermore,  if we take into account that it is coming from institutions from a society and a city that has shown great sensitivity to people with disabilities. I think with this request we are on the right track.”

Originally Published in FC Barcelona

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